Why we work on Conflict Sensitivity

Growing inequality, political violence and environmental degradation present serious challenges to an increasing number of countries. These are particularly acute in fragile contexts. Involving a range of actors to address these challenges is critical; governments, civil society and business all have roles to play.

With violent conflict now recognised as potentially the most important barrier to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, many organisations recognise the need to better understand the connection between their work and conflict. Their recognition is critical moving forward: on one hand their actions may unintentionally exacerbate social tensions, which can lead to escalating violence. On the other, many organisations have an untapped potential to contribute to social cohesion and peace, even if it is not their core mission.

How we work with Conflict Sensitivity

We support civil society, governmental institutions and businesses with a high impact in fragile and conflict-affected contexts to improve their practices, so their actions do not fuel violence and contribute to peaceful change where possible.

We help partners to:

  • Understand why and how to undertake conflict analysis, and how to use it to shape policies and programmes
  • Anticipate and manage conflict risks
  • Secure leadership commitment to driving new practice, including more flexible operations and stronger monitoring and learning to adapt to context changes
  • Build staff and partner’s capacity to understand and work on conflict
  • Review partnership approaches and improve ways to work with other actors operating in the same context
  • Review strategies to initiate or increase work directly focused on building peace

What makes our Conflict Sensitivity support distinct:

  • We use an organisational change approach that aims to build internal capacities over the long-term. We help our partners to set priorities and align resources behind them, through a process that involves different parts of their institution.
  • We enable our partners to recruit the most appropriate expertise, and stay involved to accompany the process over time.
  • We recognise the dilemmas inherent to working in fragile and conflict-affected contexts. We believe that conflict sensitivity is about making informed choices to act responsibly and achieve impact in such contexts.

Results of our Conflict Sensitivity support

Over the past five years, we have worked with diverse partners. They value our pragmatic approach which is tailored to their needs. Our partnerships result in strategies that address conflict risk, staff that are better equipped to use conflict analysis, programmes that better adapt to changing conflict dynamics, and increased funding for peacebuilding.

Our positioning to work with companies is unique. We developed the Peacebuilding Business Criteria to engage with corporate partners on how to responsibly operate in fragile contexts. We also act as a sounding board for companies in our Peace Investment Fund portfolio and in our focus regions. Feedback from these companies have shown that they value our assessments and actionable recommendations to strengthen their contributions.

Learn more about our Conflict Sensitivity support

We run a Call for Proposals (next open in early 2020), through which civil society organisations, from our focus regions and international, can apply. Governmental, multilateral or business actors interested in learning more about our Conflict Sensitivity support may contact Héloïse Heyer.